We’re still in the ‘pre-season zone’ as we look back on our fixtures from this day in history. There will no doubt be many more friendlies played on this day than we have in our records, but we’ll take a look back at some nonetheless.
Our earliest recorded game on this day was in 1971, when Leyton travelled to Whyteleafe, then in the Surrey Senior League. The 4-0 victory was something of a relief, as Leyton had lost 10-0 to East Ham United just two days before.
In 1982, we played Millwall for the third time in consecutive years. Leyton won the first game 1-0, but fell to a 2-1 defeat in 1981, and in 1982, Millwall were far more ruthless, strolling to a 5-0 victory. Leyton manager George Wakeling’s extensive south London football black book was clearly put to good use.
A couple of years later in 1984, Harlow Town were the visitors to the Hare and Hounds, with Leyton Wingate winning 2-1. It was a good start to the season which eventually saw Wingate winning the Isthmian League Division Two title by two points from Finchley. It would be the club’s last league title to date, though promotion to the Isthmian Premier did follow two years later thanks to a second-place league finish.
The 1993 fixture was a real humdinger of a friendly, with Leyton eventually running out 5-4 winners against Romford; who were only starting their second season after reforming.
Our last game on this day was in 2012, when we played our now-Essex Senior League rivals Enfield. A scratch team from Waltham Forest went up against a team who finished seventh in the ESL the season before. The game was almost in doubt, when the referee failed to show, but assistant manager Colin Walton (pictured) found a whistle in his back pocket, and strolled out to the middle of the pitch.
Enfield took an early lead, but two goals from Rodriguez for Forest gave them a lead. Rodriguez, a trialist, featured extensively in pre-season but didn’t make a competitive appearance, and soon moved back to his native New York. The delayed start to the game meant the end of the second half was played in near full darkness, so it perhaps wasn’t a surprise that Enfield would level with a long-distance shot, with Aaron Omand in the Forest goal unable to see the ball.